[QODLink]
Middle East

Report: Jordan media freedom down in 2013

Government closure of hundreds of online media sites leads to drop in press freedom, Jordanian Press Association finds.

Last updated: 20 Apr 2014 13:02
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Sporadic protests have been held in recent years against restrictions on media freedom in Jordan [AP]

Amman, Jordan – Press freedom in Jordan regressed last year, particularly after changes to the country’s publications and press law and government moves to block hundreds of online media sites, a new report has revealed.

The report, released by the Jordanian Press Association (JPA) on Sunday, indicated a drop in Jordanian press freedom, from approximately 51.5 percent to 44 percent in 2013.

The report was based on questionnaires and interviews with 470 of the JPA’s 1,048 members, and used press freedom indicators set by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

"A major factor in the decline was the closure of over 270 electronic media sites," Nour Edeen Khamaiseh, head of the JPA’s press freedom committee, told Al Jazeera after a press conference in Amman.

The Jordanian government was not available for immediate comment on the report.

In 2013, Jordan’s telecommunications regulator blocked hundreds of media sites. At the time, the government said that new websites had to comply with a change to the country’s press and publications law, which requires new websites to be legally registered and to recruit editors-in-chief who are members of the JPA.

The government’s strategy to restrict freedom of media was obvious after the Arab Spring.

- Nour Edeen Khamaiseh, Jordan Press Association

According to Freedom House, journalists must be members of the JPA to work legally in Jordan, and journalists who work for web-based publications cannot become members.

Journalists and activists denounced last year’s government decision as a violation of their freedom. "The government’s strategy to restrict freedom of media was obvious after the Arab Spring," Khamaiseh told Al Jazeera.

Another pressing issue for Jordanian journalists is restricted access to information, the JPA report found.

"Jordan’s access to information law is yet to be enforced," said Wael Jaraisheh, the editor-in-chief of Amoun news website.

"The law leaves an institution the time of up to 60 days to get back to a journalist, but as you know, after such a duration, the information would be useless," Jaraisheh told Al Jazeera.

Last year, 18 media workers reported being subjected to torture and cruel treatment, and 29 others were questioned by the Jordanian intelligence department, the report revealed.

In most cases, journalists are questioned by intelligence services after criticising or leaking private information about high-level Jordanian officials, Khamaiseh said.

397

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.